Three Free Alternatives to Pricey 411 Calls

Last Updated Dec 10, 2008 11:43 AM EST

Need to look up a phone number while you're out and about? Don't dial 411 -- unless you like paying upwards of a buck or more for the privilege. Instead, add one of these free alternatives to your speed-dial:
  • Free 411 (800-373-3411) If you don't mind listening to a 10-second ad first, Free 411 lives up to its name, giving you free business and residential listings (which can optionally be delivered via text message). Thanks to reader kwright for the tip on this one!
  • GOOG-411 (800-466-4411) Google's 411 service is surprisingly ad-free, though it limits you to business listings. Like Free 411, it can automatically connect your call and/or send you the listing via SMS. See it in action in the above video.
  • Live Search 411 (800-225-5411) Microsoft's 411 service offers not only business listings, but also traffic and weather reports, movie showtimes, travel resources, and more. (Live Search also powers Microsoft's Tellme service.)
Standard phone and SMS rates apply, but otherwise these handy services cost nothing. If you typically rack up several bucks' worth of 411 charges on your monthly cell bill, you could save big over the course of a year.
  • Rick Broida On Twitter»

    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.